DT 26029

Daily Telegraph Cryptic No 26029

All Puzzled Out!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Greetings from the Peoples’ Republic of Hebden Bridge, and before I start, a quick word of thanks to Gazza for covering last Thursday’s Toughie for me at short notice. I must confess to feeling somewhat drained as I have managed to do the Telegraph, Guardian, Independent and Times puzzles today. I figured that one or two might have something special going on (09/09/09), and was right. Today’s Telegraph wasn’t one of them, but then I wasn’t expecting it to be.

I wrote last week about clues hitting the target, but not the bullseye or gold and today’s puzzle is like that. The surface reading of some clues is off the mark, and others just seem inaccurate (What is a carbon-free decree?) Should we expect our clues to make sense, or are we spoilt when some setters spend their time achieving accuracy in their surface readings? As an aspiring compiler, I spend a lot of my time trying to write clues that read well and make sense both literally and factually. The fact that many of my attempts end up in the waste or recycle bin because they don’t must say something.

I found today’s DT puzzle to be reasonable, nothing more or less. There was nothing in there that really troubled me and I would be terribly surprised if most of the regulars felt differently. What I did miss was anything to make me smile and I did find that in abundance in the other three daily puzzles I solved. I did deliberately make sure this was the first one I solved today, but it just seemed rather humdrum, I’m afraid.

As usual, I’d love to see your thoughts, and you can leave them after the blog. Newer visitors should note that the clue answers are hidden between the curly brackets, and you need to highlight between the brackets with your mouse to view them. New message posters should note that your first post also takes a little while to appear, as they are moderated for spammers.


1a    Film when in taxi winding canal (10)
{CASABLANCA} Although it’s a relatively easy one to begin with, the surface reading of the clue is poor. AS = when, inside CAB = taxi, plus an anagram (indicated by winding) of CANAL. Film is of course the definition, which gives us an early chance to see:-

6a    Prepare carbon-free decree (4)
{EDIT} A decree is an EDICT and if it was Carbon-free (minus C) you would get a word meaning to prepare.

10a    Early growth appearing in regular vase (5)
{LARVA} Oddly enough the “growth” required in this clue, would probably appear in a vase. However it isn’t horticultural. The answer (which relates to insects) is hidden in the phrase “regular vase”.

11a    Neurotic old woman trapping son I have followed (9)
{OBSESSIVE} Old woman = O BESS with S (for son) inside and then IVE = I have. Not sure whether most solvers would get BESS to be “woman”. I checked Chambers to see if it was listed as a noun and contacted a friendly lexicographer to see if it was without success. There is a district of Bury, Gtr Manchester called Besses o’th’ Barn and the famous local brass band website says that it was either named after a local landlady or Dick Turpin’s horse.

12a    Crime of receiver of stolen goods (7)
{OFFENCE} The definition here is “crime”, and the remainder is a simple word sum.   OF + fence (a receiver of stolen goods). I wish I had a pound for every time I had seen this clue.

13a    Endlessly long tale and book? Model of its kind (7)
{EPITOME} A long tale is an EPIC, and it’s endless, so remove the C and add a word meaning a volume of a book (TOME) and you’ll get a word that defines the remainder of the clue.

14a    Let down after altering hidden stance? (12)
{DISENCHANTED} An anagram (altering) of HIDDEN STANCE reveals a word meaning a letdown.

18a    Customary assembly with a learner (12)
{CONVENTIONAL} Another word sum Assembly = CONVENTION + A L (a learner) = a word meaning “customary”.

21a    Marine creature with a group of conservationists? It fills gap (7)
{SEALANT} Hmmmm…. Are the National Trust conservationists? The clue is a word sum. Marine Creature = SEAL + A NT (a group of conservationists = National Trust). The whole answer leads to something that fills gaps.

23a    Around start of race, instigate support for rider? (7)
{STIRRUP} A phrase meaning instigate around R (start of race) will give you a jockey’s support.

24a    In face of it possibly, I perform duties (9)
{OFFICIATE} An anagram of FACE OF IT with an I inside gives a word meaning to perform duties,

25a    Abandon narrow channel (5)
{DITCH} Double definition, meaning to abandon, and a narrow channel.

26a    Lawyer, first of special sort (4)
{SILK} A silk is a slang word for a lawyer. S (first of special) + ILK (kind)

27a    Obtain article with footwear and acquire marching orders (3,3,4)
{GET THE BOOT) The clue is hampered by having to contain two different words for GET, and as such it suffers. Obtain = GET + article = THE + footwear = BOOT

Time for some lunch and then back with the Downs.


1d      Inexperienced colt getting grant (6)
{CALLOW}  C = colt + ALLOW = grant.  The definition is inexperienced.

2d      Untidy type requiring brush? About right (6)
{SCRUFF}  Brush = SCUFF with R inside leads to one who is a bit tatty.

3d      Tolerate poor sausage, not good with nice meat accompaniment? (9,5)
{BÉARNAISE SAUCE}  Messy clue for me.  The poor is needed as an anagram indicator, although I don’t see what was wrong with “cooked”.  BEAR = tolerate. Add to this an anagram of NICE SAUSAGE without G (“not good).  This leads to a sauce served with steak.

“Tolerate nice sausage, not good when cooked for meat accompaniment” – any better?

Here’s how to make it:-

4d      Last word about sound time for reparation (9)
{ATONEMENT}  Last word = AMEN around TONE = sound and add a T for time.

5d      Class players, we hear (5)
{CASTE}  Two definitions, one of which is a homophone.

7d      I’d job working with leaders of unit touring in African country (8)
{DJIBOUTI} Interesting clue.  Anagram of I’D JOB + the first letters of Unit Touring In lead to the African country.  It’s interesting in that the setter uses the word “in” as one of the initial letter indicators, so the clue has no padding.  Does this mean those clues that have surplus words are less than adequate?

8d      Complaint of one getting up too early in the main? (3,5)
{THE BENDS}  Cryptic definition for Caisson’s Disease.  The main here is the ocean and it refers to divers.

9d      In prime condition having salad? I’d feast if otherwise (2,3,2,1,6)
{AS FIT AS A FIDDLE} An anagram of SALAD I’D FEAST IF provides the expression for in prime condition.  Here the word “having” is surplus.  Is that acceptable?

15d     Crew’s not deployed around second position on ship (5,4)
{CROW’S NEST}  I liked this clue.  An anagram (indicated by deployed) of  CREW’S NOT around S for second, gives the ship’s lookout point.

16d     Item for cutting? Leader of staff is cross after review (8)
{SCISSORS} S (leader of staff) + an anagram (review) of IS CROSS

17d     Peacekeepers left in a terrible state? It’s not sanctioned (8)
{UNLAWFUL}  A word sum  UN (United Nations = peacekeepers) + L + AWFUL (in a terrible state).  “It’s not sanctioned” is the definition.

19d     Greek and German in cave (6)
{GROTTO}  GR (Greek) + OTTO (archetypal German) = something found in a cave.

20d     Outcome at college bash (6)
{UPSHOT}  If you are at college, you are said to be UP and bash = SHOT? Hmmmm….

22d     Make fun of teacher initially in front of facility (5)
{TEASE}  T (teacher, initially) + EASE (facility) = a word meaning to make fun of.

Sorry for the lateness, I thought I’d sent it and went off and did something outside the computer.

Thanks again to our setter and I’ll be back tomorrow with the Toughie.

DT 26029 - Answers

DT 26029 – Answers


  1. Libellule
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I assume the name reference in 11a (old woman) is possibly meant to be “Good Queen Bess” i.e. Elizabeth I.

    • Patsyann
      Posted September 9, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      This complier often uses ‘woman’ ‘man’ or ‘boy’ as clues to any names. I think Bess is simply a woman’s name.

  2. bigboab
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this one although it wasn’t particularly taxing. I liked 18a and 8d best.

  3. Phil
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I agree with your commentary today Tilsit – there was nothing that made me smile here. I just finished the thing after staring at 3 down for an eternity. Looking forward to the commentary to understand why….

    • Paul
      Posted September 9, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      I struggled rather with that one. It looks like it is:

      BEAR (tolerate) followed by an anagram (poor) of SAUSA E (sausage not good, i.e. with the G taken out) and NICE

    • pritchard
      Posted September 9, 2009 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Thought, like the sausage, this clue is poor. After guessing the answer I discovered that bear (tolerate) followed by a anagram of sausage (without the g – not good) and nice gives the name of the required meat accompaniment. Still not sure where the poor comes in – as an indication of an anagram or the missing g? – but the latter is explained by not good.

      • Phil
        Posted September 9, 2009 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Paul and Pritchard for clearing things up a little. IMHO that is still a pretty tenuous clue.

  4. Lea
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    I must be odd – I liked it – probably because I was abvle to solve it in record time for me. That probably means that either I was on the same wave length as the compiler (and I rarely am) or it was a relatively straight forward one.
    I’m with bigboab – I liked 8d in particular.

  5. Ann
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Is it me or are the down clues missing?

    • Libellule
      Posted September 9, 2009 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      Somebody seems to be having a very long lunch……

  6. cuppat
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    I liked this one. Never heard of Silk as a slang for lawyer, but then a day without learning is a day wasted…

    • Paul
      Posted September 9, 2009 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      A silk is a Queen’s Counsel – essentially a promoted barrister who does the big cases, costs a fortune and wears a silk gown, hence the name. It isn’t any old lawyer.

      • cuppat
        Posted September 9, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

        Thanking you…

  7. Vince
    Posted September 9, 2009 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    21a. According to The NationalTrust website : “The National Trust works to preserve and protect the coastline, countryside and buildings of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.”
    I think that makes them conservationists.